Roisin, a third-year student on placement with Brighter Communities Worldwide


Jambo! My name is Roisin Dunne and I am a third-year student in International Development with Food Policy in UCC.

As part of third year, we have the opportunity to go on placement with an NGO to get some real experience in the field we all hope to be working in in the future. I was instantly drawn to Brighter Communities Worldwide and thankfully they gave me the opportunity to work with them for five months! Starting in March I’ve been constantly learning of all the different programmes and projects they have implemented and the huge achievements that have come from them. As part of the placement, Brighter Communities Worldwide have also given me the opportunity to go to Kenya – which is where I currently am as I write this blog!

As the month of May is awareness month for educating girls about menstrual hygiene, we visited schools and attended a sports day to reach as many people as possible in the leadRoisin up to world Menstrual Hygiene Day which took place on the 28 May. During our visits, we educated girls and boys through the use of various games and activities to break the taboo around menstrual hygiene. Girls can miss up to a week of school each month when they have their period due to lack of access to sanitary towels and poor sanitation facilities at their schools. We educated the girls on how to use reusable sanitary towels and we also played many games in which we used footballs, parachutes and balloons to show them that they can still be active and do anything even if they have their period. The visits were very successful and the students seemed to have great fun, especially when it came to the balloon relays!

Last week I participated in the making of a smokeless stove with Reuben Kirui, the project leader of the programme. Before it was installed the household was full of smoke which can lead to respiratory problems and problems with the eyes. Children are also at risk of burning themselves as the cooking is usually done over an open fire. After the stove was installed, there was far less smoke in the house as the chimney shoot extracts smoke out of the house. The stove retains more heat which reduces the amount of time spent on cooking. There are many other benefits to having a smokeless stove as women and girls will have to spend far less time collecting wood as the stove burns less which means they can have more time to go to school or getting on with other tasks within the household.

We also visited more households within the village who had a stove installed, they are delighted they decided to get it fitted as it’s reduced time spent cooking and collecting timber and more time doing other tasks that are beneficial to the family.